Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust has taken action to improve the way it is run after a damning report last year.
As a result of scrutiny by Monitor, the trust has taken a number of steps to change its leadership, including replacing all but one of its non-executive directors and making the role of governors more effective.
The health regulator found that the trust was in breach of its licence in April last year after the Care Quality Commission found issues with the trust’s quality of care, which led to concerns with how the trust was being run.
Subsequently, Monitor brought about the appointment of an interim chairman, Sir David Henshaw. Soon after the trust Board was re-shaped, the trust put an action plan in place and improved its care. Paul Streat, Regional Director at Monitor, said: “It’s encouraging to see the trust successfully take action to change for the better. Making sure the trust is well-led will mean that services will run smoothly, and it is clear the trust is taking the right steps to maintain strong leadership.
“We launched our investigation last year because the trust was not being run well and this was affecting quality of care, and we are now closing it because the trust has improved on both counts. This is good news for people in Dorset who will receive better care as a result.”
Monitor, the regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts, has today confirmed that it has closed its investigation in to Dorset HealthCare and that the Trust is no longer in breach of its licence.
This means that the independent regulator is confident that the organisation has a strong leadership team in place and has taken the necessary steps to keep improving the quality of its services for local people, after concerns were raised in April 2013 about the way the Trust was being run.
The Trust has worked closely with Monitor to make a number of improvements and changes including the strengthening of governance, quality and risk management and changes to the senior leadership team.
Ron Shields, Chief Executive, said: “I am pleased that Monitor has recognised the progress we have made and this is down to the commitment and hard work of our staff, governors and senior leadership team. The past 14 months have been challenging but we have made significant changes to how we manage and oversee our services, which will support us to improve for our patients.
“However, there is far more to do to become an exemplary organisation and to progress our ambition to deliver universally excellent services. Transparency and openness must be at the heart of how we move forward, in a culture of quality and safety first and an environment where staff are recognised for their achievements and feel able to speak up about our services. We want to have a stronger connection to our patients and communities, so that they are more active in their care and are empowered to influence our strategic direction.
“We recognise that many of these things will not happen overnight but we are determined to build on these good foundations and we are optimistic about the future for staff and patients alike.”
WHAT THE TRUST DOES
Dorset HealthCare University NHS Foundation Trust provides integrated community health and mental health, specialist learning disability services, community brain injury, community dental services including community hospitals and prison healthcare.
Whilst the Trust HQ is in Poole, it provides local services across a range of locations throughout Dorset. It serves a population of almost 700,000 people across the county. Its income is approximately £200 million and employs around 5,000 staff.
Most of its services are provided in the local communities, in people's homes, community hospitals or in local centres through locally based integrated health and social care teams and facilities. It also provides specialist assessment and treatment inpatient centres.
Dorset HealthCare is regulated by Monitor. Monitor is an independent body which authorises and regulates NHS Foundation Trusts and supports their development, ensuring they are well-governed and financially robust. Monitor helps to ensure we remain compliant with our terms of authorisation, these are a detailed set of requirements covering how Foundation Trusts must operate – in summary they include: •the general requirement to operate effectively, efficiently and economically; •requirements to meet healthcare targets and national standards; and •the requirement to cooperate with other NHS organisations.